Occupy Planing was initiated by SCARP students interested in exploring, from a planning perspective, the issues brought forth by the global Occupy Movement. The newly formed group has focused its efforts on activating dialogue about 1) How planners interact with structural inequality and other substantial Occupy concerns, 2) What we as planners can learn from the Occupy Movement in terms of process, and 3) How the planning profession can engage with the Occupy Movement.
We were inspired to form Occupy Planning in November 2011 when Tony Dorcey hosted an Open Space Technology (OST) event for all students taking his classes that semester. Open Space is a facilitation style in which participants set the agenda, facilitate their own sessions, and can move freely through discussions. In Tony’s Open Space event, the Occupy Movement became a major point of discussion, with many SCARP students asking, “What does this mean for planning?” and, “Why aren’t we more involved with this?”
After that event, SCARP students began meeting to discuss Occupy’s impact on planning, eventually creating Occupy Planning. Wanting to know what other planning students and practising planners thought about these questions, we hosted Open Space discussions at the CAPS (Canadian Association of Planning Students) Conference and the SCARP Symposium in February 2012. Both sessions were well attended, garnering input from over 40 students and practitioners from a spectrum of schools and institutions.
Much like the experiences of Occupy assemblies elsewhere, our open dialogue sessions brought forth a wide breadth of issues, as well as proposed solutions. Participants then voted on the issues or solutions that resonated most with them. Questions that arose in both events included: How does inequality affect planning practice on a daily level? How does planning education address the reality of working within these inequalities? How can we keep the possible alive? How can planners be advocates as well as facilitators? Can the lessons from Occupy be better incorporated into university curricula? What is the role of technology in Occupy? And, if a global economic collapse happened this afternoon, where is the first place you would go, and why does this matter to planners?
Answers/Suggestions that emerged from the Open Spaces focused on the role of co-operatives, localization and bottom-up planning, as well as building social capital, equity of access to public space, and community connections. A more macro approach included the need for electoral reform and addressing the impact of money on politics. The ability of Occupy to be accessible to all members of the 99% was discussed, and in terms of planning education, the need for strong, engaged and practical internships was stressed.
To get involved or find out more about Occupy Planning and our next steps, please visit: http://www.occupyplanning.com.
NewsBytes is SCARP’s tri-annual newsletter highlighting current announcements, recent accomplishments, events, research, and broader planning movements of interest to staff, faculty, students, and alumni, as well as prospective students and members of the community. Below are a selection of articles from the most recent NewsBytes, as well as a link to download the newsletter. For older NewsBytes, select 'Archive' from the menu to the left.
The Winter 2013 edition of SCARP's NewsBytes newsletter is here!
To wrap up the cold and rainy season, I thought you might enjoy taking a look through our Winter 2013 NewsBytes Newsletter which covers events from the recent, and highly successful 2013 SCARP Student Symposium, "Beyond Downtown and Outside the Box", the North Van Design Jam, and the CAPS-ACEAU conference out in Montreal, along with a number of other events.
Nearly 200 people filled the GSS Ballroom on February 8th for the fifth annual SCARP Student Symposium. The theme of this year’s symposium was ‘Beyond Downtown & Outside the Box’. With the overwhelming majority of population growth taking place in suburban areas the need for a modern take on suburban design has become critical. Innovative planning and design ideas are needed to move towards sustainability across British Columbia and beyond.
Author: Karla Kloepper, MAP Candidate
The 29th annual Canadian Association of Planning Students’ conference took place from February 1st – 3rd 2013 in Montreal. Coordinated by a team of planning students from McGill University, the Université du Québec a Montréal, Concordia University, and the Université de Montréal, the "IdenCités/IdenCities" conference explored the links between urban planning and a sense of place and reflected on innovative, equitable and participatory planning practices.
Author: Anastasia Frank, MPH Candidate
The UBC Health and Community Design Lab, led by SCARP’s Dr. Larry Frank and located in the School of Population and Public Health conducts interdisciplinary research on links between land use, travel behaviour, air quality, and health. The lab’s many collaborations include research conducted with municipal governments and transportation authorities across Canada and the US.